Oakland police chief warns of slower response times amid budget cuts

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong spoke today after the city council voted last week to divert millions away from his department's budget.

"I am challenged today by the decisions that were made on Thursday around the budget for the city of Oakland, particularly for the police department," said Chief Armstrong.

In a 7-to-2 vote, the council diverted nearly $18 million away from the police budget towards other violence prevention programs.

Oakland's Mayor Libby Schaaf opposed the move, warning Oakland could lose 50 police officer positions during a time when violence is spiking.

"I believe strongly that Mayor Schaaf put forth a budget that was designed to preserve public safety for the entire city -- both law enforcement and violence prevention," said Chief Armstrong.

The chief expressed major concerns about the recent spike in violent crimes.

"We find ourselves in a crisis. We find ourselves reeling from a weekend of violence where we have seen four homicides over a three-day period. It now has us currently at 65 homicides for the year - that's a 90% increase compared to last year," said Chief Armstrong.

RELATED: Oakland votes to redirect millions in police funding to violence prevention programs

The city currently has 714 officers, and the Mayor's office has warned 9-1-1 response times will suffer.

"We already have a tough time responding to all of the calls that we get, this will make it tougher," said Chief Armstrong.

Supporters say the city needs to heavily invest in other non-police programs, like the department of violence prevention.

VIDEO: Oakland police chief speaks on budget cuts, spike in violent crime
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Oakland's police chief spoke after the city council voted to divert nearly $18 million away from his department's budget amid a recent spike in violent crime.



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